It was twenty years ago, now, that my dad passed away, after a long fight with cancer. My mom was his primary care giver, I was secondary and very often the mediator. Mom was devoted to dad, but as he grew weaker her behavior became stranger and stranger, she was losing her life companion, if ever there was a time for strangeness this was it. From the point at which we knew he was terminal, the care of mom became my responsibility. At the time I didn’t think of it that way, I was just doing what came naturally to me. In retrospect it was a huge turning point in my life. I was responsible for mom.
In those twenty years, there have been many, many stories I could and perhaps will tell you about. For this Thursday, it’s about yesterday.
In the last several weeks I’ve been very concerned as each time I visited with her in the Nursing Home, she’s been barely able to communicate coherently, and mostly sleeping. When I walked in her room yesterday, strawberry shake and small Christmas tree in hand, she yelled out, “well, there’s my baby sister”! I knew it was going to be a wild visit, and mom did not disappoint. She informed me that my dad had died, that she couldn’t tell Nana (Nana died in 1970) about it, because after all he was her son. I did not tell her it has been twenty years, I didn’t argue with her about anything she said to me, I consoled her and shook my head when she said some very outrageous things about family and friends. One of the lighter moments was when she told me that I was most like her, out of everybody in the family, I said, “oh really, ya think so”? She said, “yes, it’s a compliment”!
If you have parent’s that you love, there is a strong likelihood that in your lifetime, they are going to age, change, and die. My hope is that when I share stories of my experiences with my parent’s it will be of help to you. This is a very hard time; I’m not going to minimize it. I have great empathy for those of you that are about to embark upon the journey that I am near the end of. I’ve shed many tears, I’ve muddled through the Medicare/Medicaid system, many days it was just frustrating, hard work. At my worst moments the one thing I was certain of was this, I could do nothing else but be there for mom. Doing anything else would be contrary to the person I am. Love does many things; it took me down the caregiver road. My philosophy is that love is a powerful motivator, even when you don’t know that it is what is motivating you. Love makes you reach down deep and find a way. And who were the first people to teach me about love? Mom and Dad.
Thanks for stopping by to read my post; I hope to see ‘yas next week, for Life with Mo.